Inside Out: A great visualization of how the brain works

Inside Out: A great visualization of how the brain works

I have watched the Inside Out movie with my children and really fascinated by it. What strikes me the most is not about the storyline (which is also quite good by the way) nor the rendering technology (which is just standard). Instead, I saw it as an effort to visualize how the brain works, and they are really good at it.

First of all, they introduced that all possible kinds of emotions of every human being are basically driven by the teamwork of 5 basic ingredients: joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. Each with its distinct characteristics. It reminds me of the fact that all possible colors can also be created from 3 basic colors: red, green, and blue.

Then, here is the awesome part, they are trying to explain and visualize the concept of (hold your breath... ): core memory, short-term memory, long-term memory, fading memory, imaginary friend, dream, deepest fear, abstract thinking, train of thoughts, skills (e.g. hockey), personality values (e.g. family closeness), and what does "growing become a teenager" means in the whole picture. Wow!

Explaining those to adults is not an easy task, and a lot more difficult to explain those to children (the target audience). There is a saying that if you cannot explain something to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself. Of course, this is just a movie, not a visualization that will be used as a reference by those who want to learn psychology (they did consult with psychology experts, by the way). Additionally, most or all children would probably not realize or understand all of those concepts are related to the actual brain. But it is still interesting to see a fantasy land where you can see colorful glowing balls everywhere.

Visualization is a powerful tool to explain a concept or complex information. Human brains work better in seeing and understanding pictures rather than numbers or words. So, the next time you have a complex idea or information to present, try to use visualization!